SAB-003-17 — Low-power Radio Apparatus, Including Wireless Microphones, in the Band 614-698 MHz

November 2017

This spectrum advisory bulletin (SAB) serves to notify radio equipment suppliers and users of low‑power radio apparatus—including wireless microphones—capable of operating in the frequency range 614-698 MHz of changes to certification and operations. Hereafter, low‑power radio apparatus (LPA) refers to such devices as wireless microphones, apparatus for cue and control communications and synchronization of video camera signals.

Currently, the use of the band 614-698 MHz by low‑power radio apparatus, including wireless microphones, is on a licensed and licence‑exempt basis.  Apparatus approved under RSS-210, Licence‑Exempt Radio Apparatus: Category I Equipment do not require a radio licence to operate in Canada, however, users of such LPAs may voluntarily obtain a licence in order to minimize the likelihood of radio interference from whitespace devices and wireless microphones operating on a licence‑exempt basis (refer to CPC-2-1-28, Voluntary Licensing of Licence‑Exempt low‑power Radio Apparatus in the TV Bands).

In December 2014, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) held a public consultation (Consultation on Repurposing the 600 MHz Band) and invited comments on repurposing spectrum in the 600 MHz band. Noting the considerations and potential changes raised in that consultation, and potential for significant reorganization of services, ISED placed a moratorium on licensing new low‑power apparatus within the band. With the August 2015 decision (Decision on Repurposing the 600 MHz Band) to repurpose the 600 MHz band to include commercial mobile use and to address mutual interference issues with low‑power apparatus, ISED indicated that low‑power apparatus would be transitioned out of the band.

In light of the Consultation on a Technical, Policy and Licensing Framework for Spectrum in the 600 MHz Band, RSS-210 and CPC-2-1-28 will be modified to revise the applicable equipment standards and the licensing of LPAs within the 614-698 MHz band.  The results of the modifications will be as follows:

  1. Effective May 25, 2018, ISED will no longer accept applications for certification of low‑power radio apparatus that operate in the bands 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz.
  2. Effective November 15, 2018, it will be prohibited to manufacture, import, distribute, lease, offer for sale or sell any equipment that does not comply with the revised standards. This prohibition will apply to all equipment, including equipment that has been certified to meet the former standards.
  3. The licence exempt operation of low‑power radio apparatus within the 614-698 MHz band will be permitted to continue until the 600 MHz spectrum auction is completed. Licence exempt operation is prohibited within the bands 617-652 MHz and 663-698 MHz following the completion of the auction.
  4. The operation of existing wireless microphones authorized on a licensed basis within the 614-698 MHz band will be permitted to continue until 600 MHz mobile service deployment. The wireless microphone licensee will be given a three-month minimum notification by ISED to relocate.
  5. The moratorium remains in place with respect to licensing new low‑power apparatus applications within the frequency range 614-698 MHz.

Manufacturers, importers, retailers and current users of low‑power radio apparatus, including wireless microphones, are asked to carefully note this impending prohibition and take appropriate transition measures.

Licensees are further advised that mobile systems may cause interference to devices that are covered by RSS-210. In such a case, users are encouraged to contact their local ISED office to seek alternate channels.

Although the entire band is designated for commercial mobile use, ISED will be initiating a consultation on a technical, policy and licensing framework for secondary use applications (white space and low‑power radio apparatus), within portions of the 614-698 MHz band (e.g. guard band and duplex gap). This SAB may be updated to reflect decisions stemming from the consultation with respect to the certification and operation within portions of the above noted band.

Issued under the authority
of the Radiocommunication Act

Lynne Fancy
Director General
Spectrum Management Operations Branch